NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Retired Kenyan athlete Irene Limika has called on the government to step up and tackle the menace of doping after Olympic Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong failed drugs test on Friday last week.
Limika who was speaking at the launch of the second edition of the Marsabit Lake-Turkana Half Marathon, said during her days there were no cases of doping and would like to see the country go back to the good old days.
“During our time we were running clean, I remember those days Kenya was a place where everybody would want to be in-terms of athletics and today we have a problem. Doping has become a global issue.
“I am asking the government to put structures to fight it so that we bring back our glory where we were before,” Lima, who has competed in both track and road races, said.
While asking stakeholders to elect Paul Tergat at the May 5 National Olympic Committee of Kenya elections, Limika, 38-years-old called on the new leaders to fight doping and ensure its eradicated completely.
She urged the government to put up structures in the Northern Kenya to enable the development of athletics talent in the region.
“I’m so happy to be part of Marsabit Half Marathon. I have one request to the government; we have talents all over our country especially in the northern part of Kenya like Marsabit. The government should put camps to enable these athletes train for them to achieve their dreams of becoming world champions and bring medals to our country.”
Meanwhile, as reports tickled in that Sumgong had failed a drugs test, Kenya Anti Doping Agency (ADAK) stepped up its campaign to educate athletes on the need to win clean.
ADAK has launched a campaign targeted at reaching over half a million sportsmen to fight the use of banned substances which now seem to be gaining root in Kenya.
Kenya was last year declared in breach of anti-doping rules, and athletes underwent special testing for Rio 2016. The country was deemed “non-compliant” by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but was reinstated before last summer’s Games.
Between 2011 and 2016, more than 40 Kenyan track-and-field athletes failed doping tests.
ADAK launched its reach on athletes a month ago and this week staged a road show across Nairobi that was aimed at creatimng awareness on doping.
“We want our athletes and sportsmen to win clean,” ADAK Chief Executive Officer Jasper Kiplimo Rugut said.
“These road shows are meant to create awareness and educate our athletes and even non athletes on the dangers of doping,” added Rugut.
“We will engage sportsmen, brand ambasadours, government, federations, media and sports lovers in this mission until we ensure that our motto of Stay Clean, Win right is achieved.”
Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) will work closely with the media to reach out to sportsmen and women in their mission to senstise them on doping and its effects.
In July last year, an investigation by German television channel ARD and Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper alleged that doping is rife at the elite training centre in Iten.